HAVE you ever paused during the course of a routine activity and asked, Why? What's the purpose? Is life merely a chain of ultimately meaningless events? Can the mundane be elevated to something divine? According to the first chapter of Genesis, man (male and female) is created in God's own image and is given dominion over all the earth. Yet to the common material view of things, man more nearly resembles the allegorical figure of Adam, who, because of disobedience to God, was condemned to till the soil. Extracting a spiritual lesson from this Biblical allegory, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ``The condemnation of mortals to till the ground means this, -- that mortals should so improve material belief by thought tending spiritually upward as to destroy materiality.''1
But how can thought be tending spiritually upward when we're bent over tilling the soil, scrubbing the floor, or keying data into a computer? St. Paul has given us a clue in these words: ``Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.''2
As we look for ways to glorify God through the active expression of the divine nature in everything we do, we won't feel locked into a purposeless routine. We'll begin to discern and appreciate something of our actual, immortal identity, which is always satisfied and complete. Not only does this add a fresh sense of joy and purpose to our days but it carries with it the protection that accompanies an awareness of being in the presence of the Almighty.
This was proved to me one time when I was helping my dad top an old alder tree. Instead of approaching our task as merely a physical chore, we began by discussing how we could glorify God through our work. We reasoned that since the tree was leaning threateningly toward utility wires and traffic, we would be contributing to safety by topping it, thereby blessing the neighborhood. Also, the work would require the exercise of such qualities as strength, balance, agility, and fearlessness, attributes we identified as derived from God rather than from personal ability. What an inspiration it was to see how this simple task could be performed for the glory of God rather than merely as a physical exercise that would result in a pile of firewood!
The protective power of this approach was soon proved as I was using a chain saw at a height of about sixty feet. A limb over my head fell onto the branch on which I was standing, causing it to break off in alignment with the trunk. Because of the angle of the tree, there was only one branch below that could have broken my fall. As I landed on this branch, perfectly balanced, and still holding the buzzing saw, there was no doubt in my mind that our prayer, establishing our purpose as a spiritual one, had protected me from becoming a victim of harmful circumstances. Deeply grateful, I got back to my feet and finished the job with rejoicing.
This experience impressed upon me the importance of these words from a hymn in the Christian Science Hymnal:
Ye shall not to your daily task
Without your God repair, But on your work His blessing ask
And prove His glory there.3
If each day we will identify with a spiritual purpose rather than allow ourselves to be caught up in mindless routines, we will inevitably feel the touch of God's presence giving new meaning to our lives. Life is infinitely more than it seems to be to a superficial, material sense of things. Our real identity is spiritual, created by God as the very expression of His nature, and we can begin to glimpse something of this reality and experience the satisfaction that accompanies it.
Toward this end, there's work to be done in a spiritual direction. Mrs. Eddy writes: ``We must resolve to take up the cross, and go forth with honest hearts to work and watch for wisdom, Truth, and Love. We must `pray without ceasing.'''4
When daily tasks are approached with the purpose of exercising the God-given qualities of character that we all do have, even the most ordinary life can be turned into a ceaseless prayer of praise. Why not resolve today to go forth with the purpose of glorifying God and see what a difference it makes!
1Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 545. 2I Corinthians 10:31. 3Christian Science Hymnal, No. 247. 4Science and Health, p. 15.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Ye that fear the Lord, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him. Psalms 22:23